The Timbuk2 Especial Raider is designed for the commuter bicyclist. It’s a low profile and lightweight backpack that’s large enough for your essential gear yet slight enough to be as mobile as the life you’ve carved out for yourself.
On a casual bike ride, I tested out the Especial around town. I packed it full with my work shoes, a water bottle, and I also tested out the included shirt pocket and even had enough room for my Lenovo Ultrabook. It filled up quickly, but I didn’t need anything else in it. And neither will you if you’re an A-to-B kind of guy.
Putting it on, I immediately noted the comfort. The straps didn’t cut into my armpits, even with the weight of the contents I’d filled it with. There’s also air mesh built into the pack, which moved around my back while I was on my ride. It kept me dry and comfortable.
I like how the pack isn’t rigid, yet it feels durable as hell. The whole thing is built of flyweight ripstop Nylon, and I can tell that it can stand up to plenty of abuse. From a cycling perspective, I also like how it has a reflective panel on the rear and hits on the side. Safety first on night rides, folks.
The shirt pocket feature is very useful. It’s just a piece of slim plastic that fits perfectly into the pocket. I folded one of my button-down work shirts over it, and secured it in with the included strap. After I was done riding around, I changed into the shirt. (Oh, and there’s a hanger on the inside of the pack you can use to hang it up while you’re changing. ) No wrinkles remained on the shirt, just the subtle creases where I’d folded it. I’d be ready for a meeting if I didn’t need to take a shower first.
Speaking of which, this bag works great as a gym companion. You can swap out your gym shoes for professional shoes with the included pockets, and toss in your sweaty clothes and swap them for clean ones after you shower.
It’s a versatile pack that’s not too big or too small, with plenty of room for all kinds of stuff. Don’t expect to be able to mount a big expedition with it, but that’s not what it’s intended for. As a commuter and recreational cyclist, the Timbuk2 Especial Raider is a highly recommend traveling companion.